“she decided to love a muslim man.” i caught a glimpse of regret in her eyes, as if the thought of stopping her daughter from changing her name, her beliefs, her fate crossed her mind at one point in the past. then she smiled and continued, “but he’s a good man, you know? i have never had to worry about her since.”

she was a middle-aged lady, waiting anxiously for news of her grandchild’s birth outside the delivery suite. i helped update her about her daughter’s condition and she appeared grateful for any information i could give her.

it’s unusual for chinese parents to come to such good terms about a child marrying someone of non-chinese descent, especially someone who is a muslim. every ethnic group in malaysia has its prejudices against the other races, but the tension between the malays and chinese is no doubt the most palpable, especially among the older generation.

i thought about this as i went back into the delivery suite to see what was going on. i was glad that she eventually saw that her son-in-law truly cared for her daughter. this “good man” was, at that moment, right by his wife’s side, his arms bruised by her grip, which tightened with every contraction. she needed nothing more than his presence and it was clear that he was there of his own will, out of love.

the delivery took a long time. the mother was absolutely exhausted by the time her baby was delivered safely. the child was immediately showered with the kind of attention only babies deserve. while examining the infant, my colleagues noticed some tell-tale features that suggested all may not be well with the child.

my heart sank. here was a woman who was having her first baby with her loving husband, with a mother who accepted her daughter’s choice for a life partner and drove 2 hours after work just to make sure she’s there for her grandchild’s grand entry into the world. after the hours of pain, she might be told that her baby may be special?

i wonder if the family, which has gone through a previous struggle for acceptance, will be able to survive yet another onslaught. love is the only answer – like how the husband’s love has shown his mother-in-law that he’d be a great partner for her daughter, like the mother’s love has led her to accept who her daughter chooses to live her life with. as corny as it is, love can pull them through.

i wish nothing but the best for them.


2 responses to “tonight

  1. well written indeed. i can only imagine the anguish of parents to hear that their child is ‘special’.

  2. well said. 🙂 you write well, li shun, which is why i drop by now and then. keep thinking your way through things like this, and you’ll be ok. 😉

    i wish you the best.

    p/s: and remember even the strongest of us need to rest too, sometimes. 😉

    and pp/s: oh, and i know what you mean about acceptance; i’d like to think, though, that it all comes from Faith in Someone, who enables everything, and nothing without a reason. 🙂 God speed.. 🙂

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